By Ryan Cooper, The Week

The recent flooding in Germany and Belgium was estimated to be the worst in at least 500 years. At time of writing, some 205 people had been killed, a further 176 were missing and unlikely to be found alive, and billions of euros in property damage had been inflicted.

In the ensuing news coverage, a note of astonishment could be heard. It “is inconceivable that this is happening in Germany,” a Red Cross driver told Reuters. “Did you ever imagine something like this happening here in Germany?” a CBS reporter asked a local resident.

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